TaxAdministrationShare incentive plan panned

Share incentive plan panned

Experts have lashed out at the government's freshly-launched Share Incentive Plan, calling it a missed opportunity.

Within hours of the launch Graham Ward-Thompson, a human resources consulting partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers, said the full benefit of Share Incentive Plans could not be fully realised because essential reforms had not been made.

The launch, in London this morning, involved the renaming of the old AESOPs and the announcement of a roadshow to persuade more SMEs to introduce the schemes.

However, Ward-Thompson said there was still a major problem persuading quoted companies the plans are a sound idea.

Recent statistics show only 40 of the FTSE 100 had approved such a plan with shareholders but only seven had managed to gain Inland Revenue approval.

Ward-Thompson criticised the government for locking employees into their share plans for five years if they wanted the tax benefits, instead of the three years for executives.

He also called on government to increase the value of tax free shares that can be awarded to employees from £3,000 to £8,000.

The Share Incentive Plan is intended by chancellor Gordon Brown to help improve productivity in British Industry by encouraging employees to become more committed to their companies.

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Brown launches share incentive plan

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